Meditations on the Psalms, The Christian Life #10, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

cover of the ebook 'Meditations on the Psalms, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox'

Psalm 28

Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God: bring to the Lord the offspring of rams. Bring to the Lord glory and honour: bring to the Lord glory to his name: adore ye the Lord in his holy court. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters. The voice of the Lord is in power; the voice of the Lord in magnificence. The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars: yea, the Lord shall break the cedars of Libanus.

And shall reduce them to pieces, as a calf of Libanus, and as the beloved son of unicorns. The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire: The voice of the Lord shaketh the desert: and the Lord shall shake the desert of Cades. The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags: and he will discover the thick woods: and in his temple all shall speak his glory. The Lord maketh the flood to dwell: and the Lord shall sit king for ever. The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.

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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

First Point. The gift of the fear of God. This Psalm describes the effects on nature of a high wind, and finds in them an allegory of the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The wind itself, rushing about our ears, seems to invite us to follow its guidance; so the Holy Spirit invites us to come into God’s courts and ask his assistance, bringing with us our best offerings, the most vigorous and the most valued of our natural faculties, to be sanctified by his guidance. The sweep of the wind over the sea reminds us of the time when earth was formless and void, and the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters: the Holy Spirit is God, who created all things out of nothing. And as the roaring of the gale and the mountainous waves daunt our courage, they remind us that we should feel a holy fear for the God who is infinitely exalted in power above all his creatures, even the most violent of natural forces. Let us fear God’s majesty, his almighty power, his unerring judgments.

Second Point. The gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. And now the wind hurries over the forest; see how the trees all bend in a single direction, and the boughs that cannot bend snap off and are whirled along. So the Holy Spirit would sway the hearts of men in the direction of their sanctification by the gift of true wisdom, and would break down the stubborn resistances of foolish nature. A forest fire breaks out, and as we see the flames of it swept this way and that, we are reminded of the divided tongues of fire which appeared at Pentecost, accompanying the wonderful gift of knowledge then given to the Apostles, and granted to us in our measure according to our prayers. And now the forest land stops short, and the wind sweeps over the trackless wastes of the wilderness; not a grain of sand in all the desert but feels this impulse! Think, then, how the Holy Spirit searches out all things, and how we should pray for the gift of understanding, that whatever is dark and difficult to our weak minds may be more fully manifested to us by the omniscient Enlightener of our hearts.

Third Point. The gifts of counsel, piety, and fortitude. The wind makes itself felt even in the dense thickets where the deer have taken refuge. So the Holy Spirit discerns everything, and penetrates even to our most secret motives; let us pray then for the gift of counsel, that our hidden intentions may be directed aright. The wind blows in under the church doors, and drives the incense-smoke to and fro; let us pray that, through his gift of piety, the Holy Spirit will take control of our hearts and inspire our prayers, so that they may be acceptable to God. And so the wind passes out to sea again, and reminds us of the winds by which God abated the Flood, and divided the waters of the Red Sea; and, conscious of that fatherly protection, we ask for the gift of fortitude to keep our hearts high amid the waves of sin and of calamity that surround our mortal life. The face of nature is calm again, and we thank God for the peace he has shed abroad in our hearts and the rest he has promised us hereafter.

Acts: Fear, resignation of our wills; invocation of the Holy Spirit.

Colloquy with the Spirit who discerns every thought of our hearts.